Of notes & academics
Even instructors of science and languages can perform music on stage, and perform very well. This was proved at Amaltas Hall, at the India Habitat Centre on Friday evening. Professor Subhendu Ghosh, Dr Nilanjana Kaviraj, and Professor Rupa Chanda performed compositions of classical music. This event was in collaboration with the Presidency College Alumni Association.
Ghosh who is the head of the department of biophysics, Delhi University, South Campus, and the treasurer of the alumni association, was also in charge of the programme. He says, "All three of us are academics as well as performing artistes. Presidency has always been known for academic talents, but we decided to hold festive occasions showcasing art and music from time to time." He goes on to explain, "We will perform Bengali music, with classical influences, and showcase works of Bengali poets who composed works based on raags." Ghosh himself sung compositions based on the works of the famed poet Kazi Nazrul Islam in the form of khayals, thumris, and some ghazals, which Islam had introduced in the Bengali form.
Dr Nilanjana Kaviraj sang five songs of the Bengali lawyer and singer Atul Prasad Sen. As Kaviraj explains,"His music was influenced by the Lucknawi gharanas tradition, with its thumris, dadras, jhoolas, and tappas, which give the songs a vibrating quality." Two of the songs Kaviraj sang were his song Holi, which is usually sung in raag Kafi, and a jhoola, used in raag Pilu. Kaviraj, a former academic who taught languages, is based in New York, along with her husband Sudipta Kaviraj, who teaches at Columbia University, and is an alumnus of Presidency.
For her part, Chanda, as she says, tried to cover a variety of composers and styles in Bengali. Two of the songs were of Rabindra sangeet, also influenced by the Carnatic tradition, and by DL Roy. "It is important to showcase the works of great singers," Chanda says. Chanda, like Kaviraj, had not attended Presidency, but her father, Ramesh Chanda had. Like the others, she kept up her interest in music performing on stage, despite her position as RBI chair professor of Economics, in IIM, Bangalore.
As Ghosh says, "There are so many in this country who feel that people cannot follow two careers and two passions at the same time. We try to prove them wrong". As was seen on Friday night, the trio did indeed prove all doubters wrong.