Hariprasad Chaurasia's accession to stardom in Indian classical music has been of a man obsessed. His wide and varied experience started with secret tutelage away from the disapproving eye of a wrestler as father. His earlier gurus were Pandit Raja Ram who taught him the basics of classical vocal music and Pandit Bhola Nath Prasanna from whom he got his first lessons in classical music on the flute. As composer at AIR Cuttack and Bombay, he was his own guru. His obsessive hours of riyaaz or practice of classical music combined with a pathbreaking participation in film music orchestration. He brought a new dimension to film music composition, as also individually later in the field of thematic music.
But it was his tutelege under the reclusive, demanding, strict disciplinarian, Annapurna Devi, that marked the future for Hariprasad Chaurasia as a musician who has revolutionized the flute idiom and given it new classical dimensions. She is the daughter of the famed Baba Ustad Allauddin Khan of the Senia gharana, a musical inheritance that created her brother, Ali Akbar Khan's magical instrumentation on the sarod, and the incomparable exuberance and scholarship of Ravi Shankar on the sitar. Her own expertise with a rare instrument like the Surbahaar, with her first and one public performance alone, became the stuff that legends are made of. With a musical lineage like that Hariprasad Chaurasia's technical wizardry has partnered with an exuberant inner romanticism to mould the flute in the image of his favourite God, Krishna.
Recipient of his country's highest honours, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, as he is now known, has won accolades for his performance and interacted with western musicians all over the world. But back in Mumbai he is Guru-in-Residence at his school for music, Vrindaban Gurukul, where he likes to teach in the hallowed Indian tradition of the Guru-Shishya Parampara.
About the Author :
Uma Vasudev is the biographer of Indira Gandhi, India's late Prime Minister. Her two books, Indira Gandhi: Revolution in Restraint and Two Faces of Indira Gandhi cover the tumultuous years on Indira Gandhi's growth to power and the later controversial period of the nineteen seventies and the Emergency. Her third book, Indira Gandhi; Courage Under Fire takes the late Prime Minister's life up to her assassination in 1984.
Uma Vasudev's first novel, Song of Anasuya came out in 1978 and set a trend in analytical structural form and its portrayal of Delhi's high society. Her second novel, Shreya of Sonagarh ranges over the nuances of a crumbling feudal order and bureaucratic ascendance in India of the nineteen sixties. It was based on her own observations over years in Madhya Pradesh as the wife of an IAS Officer, the late L.K. Malhotra. She also published and edited her own magazine, Surge. She was editor of India Quarterly, the journal of the Indian Council of World Affairs. Subsequently, briefly, editor, India Today.
As a free lance columnist Uma Vasudev has continued to cover topics ranging from politics to the arts, both in the literary field and for radio and television. Her particular interest has been Indian classical music in which she herself took vocal training at Delhi's Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Her portraits of India's great ustads and gurus in classical music were the earliest to be published in The Illustrated Weekly of India in the late fifities in the form of personal interviews which are now of archival value. She has coordinated a series on Indian classical musicians for the BBC entitled Eastern Sounds.
Uma Vasudev's forthcoming book is titled in Step With Paradise - Kashmir Poetry Interpreted Through Indian Classical Dance.
Uma Vasudev lives in Delhi. She has a daughter, Kamia, and two grandsons, Yajush and Amnaya.
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