Indian Classical Music is country’s asset with the potential to bring in a large volume of foreign exchange says Santoor Maestro Tarun Bhattacharya in conversation with Subhojit Roy
Q: As a senior statesman of the Indian Classical music industry are you happy with the state of the industry?
Ans: When we take the overall scenario music and particularly classical music has survived several greater crisis over the centuries. So I am very positive and upbeat about the further prosperity of Indian music across global boundaries. It is so often repeated that music transcends boundaries and I am a firm believer in this that music truly does not have boundaries. I so frequently play in the western countries and connect with the second generation/ third generation Indians as well as Americans or Europeans of the age group of 10-25 years and I am so excited seeing the talent and interest in Indian classical music both Hindustani and carnatic styles. For me it is like getting fresh oxygen and I am really enjoying this phase of playing as well as teaching.
Q: The world celebrates Bharat Ratna Ravi Shankar’s centennial in 2020, if you have to single out one contribution of the master to Indian music what would be it?
Ans: As Guruji’s disciple ( only one on santoor) it would be a sacrilege to even evaluate the greatest of India’s musician but among his countless number of contributions, for me putting Indian music on global map thereby opening the lock gates for musicians like us and the next generations the global platform to perform is my Guru Bharat Ratna Ravi Shankar’s greatest contribution. We were lucky to have interacted and imbibe his spirit, values and learn from him, his apparent simplistic yet absolutely global vision about music and values make him more of a Guru whom we term Life Coach these days. He was and has been India’s only complete performer, musical brilliance coupled with rockstar like performing skills mesmerizing the audience across boundaries.
Q: You have always said that Indian Classical music should be an avenue to earn foreign exchange for India, how do you marry commerce with music to make it foreign exchange generating?
Ans: I have always believed that Indian classical music is a treasure trove not just in terms of aesthetics but in terms of money generating scope. A musician sells his or her intellectual ability to generate money and when they do it abroad they bring in much needed foreign exchange. My Guruji Ravi Shankar ji actually opened the avenues for the successive generations to perform abroad and bring in overseas currency. But we have actually not exploited this to it’s fullest, newer avenues need to be opened to expand the channels of foreign exchange generation and for this, I feel the Government can actually promote more vigorously about Indian music in bigger markets just as aggressively they promote Indian tourism. The mysticism of Indian music is waiting to be explored by the huge market out there. Indian Classical Music is the country’s important asset with the potential to bring in a large volume of foreign exchange.
Q: Charity and you seem to be inseparable, what makes you involved in so many humanitarian efforts?
Ans: I believe we as public figures must do our bit to improve conditions in the community we live in. My association with Rotary International has changed my perception towards my responsibilities as a human being towards the community.
My first tryst was as the ambassador for the polio eradication program followed by the cause of raising funds for thalassaemic children and recently the cause of pediatric cancer. Most of my charity work has been for children and I strongly believe in these causes as children are the future and it is our responsibility to make their future better.