ABOUT MYSELF

 

My childhood was spent in Lahore .

 

Our neighbors were Bengalis who were extremely fond of Music.Every evening the Sarkars  would  meet and sing together.Across the window when they saw me,they would ask me to   come over  and join  them/

 

They would often take me to Bengali M ovies. I still remember seeing Vidyapati

 In Bengali. I  was highly impressed by the music of the film/

 

This is how I was introduced to world of  Music Slowly I took to singing.

 

When my father saw this he went and bought a small  harmonium for me. The price he paid was only 1O rupees. He  was very fond of Music and could play Sitar.

 

One of   our Bengali neighbours  called Deemi  ( B.C.Dutt ) was also  a badminton player . He trained me well and I got the All India Junior’s  Title in 1943  in Badminton.

 

In \ 1943  we shifted  to Bombay .

 

I started searching for a Bengali teacher and was fortunate enough  to find J.K.Banerjee who was  fondly called Kakajee by us all. I have no words to describe his since ri ty .

At every  note he would make us sing again and again until our  note was nearly in tune.He tried very hard to make me sing in tune but alas ! he failed for no fault of his.

At this juncture  I was suddenly attracted to Classical Music and  started learning from Mahadev Mishra for some time,

 

Afterwards I the good luck to learn  Classical  Music from Pt. Krishnarao Chonkar who had worked with the legendary Bal Ghandharava for 3O years on the stage.When I told him that I wanted to learn Rhythms from him  along  with singing    he was highly amused but agreed to give it a   try. Surely he must have observed my  colourful singing and was probably  relieved at my request.

 

He was shocked to observe  that I could  sing perfectly  in  Taals like 9 beats,11 beats,13 beats and 15 beats  but would fumble  in simple Taals like 6 , 8 and  16 beats.

 

So one day when I requested him to record all the 2O basic Taals against 2O Raagas ( 2 from each of 1O  Thhats  )he put his foot down on the project saying that no one would be crazy to buy such a cassette

 

.But eventually when I convinced him  that    this cassette would work like a Dictionary of  Indian Music he agreed . For this project  he roped in Shridhar Padhye  on Tabla , and  Baban Manjrekar on H armonium .

 

Thus  our first cassette Raag Sargam aur Taal  was made which has until today sold in thousand s.

 

Eventually we  produced 15 other cassettes ,  with 2O   basic Rhythms or at least  12 of them  on each of them

 

On  Tabla we recorded 52 rhythms .

 

 On .Pakhawaj.we recorded 37 Rhythms.

 

Our main programmes in this set of 16 are Raag Sargam aur Taal ,Gayaki Raag aur Taal , Vol . I – II,  Traditional ThumrisVol. I- II ,  and Saaz Raag aur Taal  VolI-II

 

Shruti  Sadolikar , Shridhar Padhye ,Arjun Shejwal  and of course  Pandit Krishnarao Chonkar have been the main pillars.

 

I am selling these as Chandiramani’s Music of India Series and it  also includes Karnataka  music : Vocal, drums,instruments, and side rhythms.

 

Simultaneously I started to learn  singing from  the famous music director Bulo.C.Rani who had given Music for 85 pictures  and is still remembered for his famous qawali ( Humein to loot  liya husun walon  ne)  and the  music of Jogin..

 

But  somehow I was more interested in  composing than singing.

 So one day, I said  to him ,I have composed one Bhajan. Would you like to listen.’

Being a very friendly and a noble soul he said,  ‘ okay.’

 

I stil remember singing Guru Nanak’s  Thakur tum sarnai,in Taal Dhamar which was  eventually  sung by Shruti Sadolikar  with Arjun Shejwal on Pakhawaj

 

He was very impressed and said, ’With your classical Music  background I  suggest you switch over to  composing .’

 

I said, Are you tired of  teaching me to sing that you want to push me  in composing ?.’

 

He said,  ‘ I think you have  a fascination for   Rhythms and compostion. Combine the two and I will help and guide you. Besides as grows old,one’s singing power decreases but not the power of composition.’

 

Until  today , I enjoy composing Bhajan s and Ghazals and Sindhi music  in different Taals with a classical background. And in at least in12 Rhythms

 

 

I have made  a cassette with 19 Taals in Sindhi music. Hindi Bhajans in 12 Taals and Ghazals in 12 Taals also. 

 

I am grateful to  Kamla Jhang iani who encouraged me and sung my first  composition in Jhap Taal L yrics by Sadhu Vaswani .

 

.Bulaji suggested that she should  sing the same  composition in 6 beatsinstead  but she declined to do so and said, ‘I prefer to sing in the original Jhap Taal,;’

 

That gave me a very good boost.

 

Afterwards there was no turning back. I am fortunate that singers like Nirmala  Aroon , Kavita Krishnamurti, Shruti Sadolikar, Usha Amonkar,Ghanshyam Vaswani and Madhu Shehri  have sung my compositions

 

The most difficult composition has been sung in two Rhythms interlinked   in the same song  by Ghanshyam Vaswani with  Arjun Shejwal on Pakhawaj.

 

In between I went to Germany for training in Chemicals,

 

 

 I was  indeed impressed to see their progress on all fronts.

 

 

 So  when I came back, I started learning German from Prof Dr S.B.Hudlikar ( Germany )who was a  Indologist and has written many books in English German and Ma rathi.

 

Here also I could not concentrate on learning the Language and its Grammer but was very fond of translating   to German with the help of dictionaries.

 

When I told the Prof, that I wanted to do some translation along with learning  the grammer and the language , he  was taken a back but  being another kind soul, agreed to help me with my whim/

.

One day while correcting my translation ,he said, ‘,It is a pity that Germans are translating  our Shastras into German but we are doing nothing about it.’

 

Panchatantra was first published  in 1481 in Germany .

 

So I said, Why do we not attempt such a venture ? Let us try with our  ancient classic Panchatantra itself .’

 

He was very skeptic about it but agreed to try

 

Every morning he would translate from Sanskrit Text, word for word.into English.I would go home, rearrange the sentences and bring them on the next day for final correction.

 

 

We first  translated Panchatantra into English version. It took us 7 years It has been touched up by Sylvia Gidley U.K. It  has gone into 15 editions and is sold by Rupa  and Co.India .

 

Next we translated  Panchatantra into German. Dr. A Karl ( Austria  ) touched up  my   German version of Panchatantra

 

,M/S Eugen Diederichs published it and sold all the 5OOO copies,.

 

Thus we were the first Indians to have    translated  Panchatantra into German

 

In between I went to Indonesia .

 

As  I met musicians. Writers, and dancers, I was attracted to their literature and  folklore and was amazed to find astounding similarities between  our backgrounds  Afterall , for 15OO years Indonesia was Hindu and Buddhist . Stories  called Kishah   Tantri and Tantri Tales.  Have originated from Panchatantra.

 

 

I did some research and came to the conclusion that  probably Panchatantra was translated into ancient Kawi language of Indonesia  in the 11th century, during the reign  of King Airlanga ,  at the same time when Ramayana  and  Mahabharat were translated.There are historical records  that he got the scholars from India to translateSanskrit Shastras into Kawi.

 

 Incidently ,There are 4OO common words between Sanskrit and Indonesian.

So when I came back I started learning Indonesian  from the books..

 

 

Eventually with the help of one Jyoti Daryanani an Indian from Indonesia ,we translated  Panchatantra into modern  Indoneian. Sri Artaria  of Dian Rakyat touched it up. Dian Rakyat Jakarta printed 5OOO copies And the sale is going on .

 

 

I have also translated  Tales of Hitopadesha into   English and German and Indonesian/

 

 A DVD od Tales of Hitopadesha is being produced by me.When the children read it and listen to it  ,surely their Standard of English will go up.

 

This remindsme.My father would always say,’Do something that the others have not done before.,’

 

I am glad  I have  not failed him .

I have also written  Roman  Script for the Sindhi language .  

 

 Millions of Sindhis staying outside India ,where there is no arrangement  to learn language in Arabic or Hindi script can use this Roman script to keep alive the Sindhi language .

 

Whatever I have achieved in life on the music and literature front has been  due to my extremely efficient and kind  Gurus who always  listened to my whims and guided me with love and affection/ My  gratitude to them knows no bounds/