What is happening to the music industry during Covid-19? Have we ever thought about how the local artists and small schools are managing their livelihood with cancelled performances around the world? How can our humility and good hearts give back to the community in ways that we have not perceived earlier? This question brings us to the basic question of our culture and traditions.
Indian Classical Music has carried forward its traditions from Teachers to their Disciples, from the Gurus to their Shishyas through the Guru Shishya Parampara. This tradition has been in place from the Vedic period whereby the teacher passes on his knowledge, wisdom and motivation to his disciples, in what is considered as one of the most divine relationships. The main focus of the Gurukul system was to maintain harmony, brotherhood and equality among all disciples thereby creating an atmosphere of peace, harmony and tranquility.
One such dedicated and humble teacher of Guru Shishya Parampara, is the Pre Grammy Award winner, The Global Ambassador of Music for India, Sangeet Natak Academy Awardee, Santoor maestro Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya. He has not only single handedly taken upon himself to spread his tutelage but also has very graciously opened up a school that provides free instruments, shelter and also food to the needy in a remote part of Kolkata, India during this time of the pandemic and otherwise.
He says “During my tutelage with my Guruji Bharat Ratna Pt. Ravi Shankar Ji , I had the opportunity to visit his Gurukul “ Himangana “, in Varanasi. The experience changed my life. Apart from learning the intricacies of music, I also got to learn about the facets of life. With a view of continuing the legacy that was laid down by Guruji, I started Santoor Ashram as a Dream Project to continue the tradition of the Guru Shishya Parampara. The journey started almost two decades back from the tranquil and serene landscapes of Domjur, in the outskirts of Kolkata. During this Covid-19 times we are providing basic necessities to the needy too”
The main objective was to carry forward Indian Classical Music in its purest form from one generation of musicians to the other. Santoor Ashram not only provides musical lessons but it also helps individuals to grow and mature as human beings. The focus of this one of a kind school is on providing a musical platform to the young and upcoming musicians to showcase their talent. The knowledge that is passed on from the Gurus to their Sishya not only enriches the students in their quest for music but also in the various aspects of life.
Santoor Ashram provides the under privileged students with Day Boarding facilities and also with free musical instruments to help them continue their love and passion for Music. The serene setting of Santoor Ashram helps students to connect with nature and to understand its essence thereby helping us maintain ecological harmony.
The journey of Santoor Ashram hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. Since the institute is not government funded, all the expenses of the teachers, staff and maintenance of the institute is to be borne through voluntary donations, contributions through fees and guruji’s personal income. The running of an institute like this is both money and labor extensive. But he has not given up.
Santoor Ashram as an institute, has played its role in various social, spiritual and emotional well-being by helping people during this pandemic situations by providing the less privileged with blankets and other necessary belongings along with food and social distancing shelters.
With the changing times Santoor Ashram has also moved forward embracing technology. Santoor Ashram is now using digital platform to both conduct classes as well as to organize concerts. A dedicated website to the institute is coming up soon. Santoor Ashram has now set up its office in Los Angeles, USA. They are also working at setting up residential blocks for students in Kolkata to stay and practice music, thereby also providing an opportunity to students from abroad to come and learn at Santoor Ashram.
Panditji says “Our aspirations are very high; we look forward to making Santoor Ashram a modernized Gurukul and to help Indian Classical Music reclaim its past glory. Santoor Ashram in the coming days will be working towards making people aware of the benefits of Music and in helping they relieve their stress and anxiety through music”
Read more about this amazing human being who never gets tired of giving at
His Recent Global Fest to promote all his students around the world also got recognized in new papers and media.