Hindustani Vocal Concert by Mandar Karanjkar for all staff members of TMCP
August 2, 2019 at Sangam World Centre, Yerawada, Pune.
On a rainy morning, at a venue surrounded by greenery, a hundred-odd members of staff from Tara Mobile Creches Pune (TMCP) had gathered. A number of events were lined up for them for the day and one of those was a Hindustani classical vocal concert and interaction by Mandar Karanjkar.
During the drive to the venue, I learned from the members of Baithak Foundation that they have been collaborating with TMCP for two years. TMCP is a non-profit organization that has been striving to provide safety, healthcare, education and recreation to the migrant construction workers’ children. Baithak Foundation has been endeavoring to take Hindustani classical music to people, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. Together, the two organizations have been providing an opportunity to the less privileged ones to listen to Hindustani classical music and interact with some of the promising as well as renowned artists.
This specific event was organized by Baithak Foundation for only the staff members of TMCP because Baithak found it necessary to reach out to the TMCP staff and explain the relevance of Baithak Foundation’s work to all the staff members. This concert was the first by Baithak Foundation for TMCP staff, featuring classical vocal by Mandar Karanjkar, co-founder of Baithak Foundation. Among the audience that had gathered, most were women in different age groups, working as an in-charge, or coordinator, or staff at a TMCP Centre or Office.
The day started with a prayer, which was followed by an introduction to the artists – the vocalist Mandar Karanjkar and Saumitra Kshirsagar, Parth Tarabadkar and Dakshayani Athalye who were there to accompany Mandar’s vocals on Harmonium, Tabla and Taanpura, respectively. Before beginning the performance, Mandar asked everyone gathered in the hall whether they had ever listened to Hindustani classical music. Almost all of them answered in the negative. They all were going to be listening to pure classical music for the first time ever.
Mandar started the concert with a khayal in Raag Bibhaas. I’d heard the khayal he sang in one of the events organized earlier, but it was then sung in a different taal (Tilwada), with a different approach. Mandar’s rendition of the khayal in madhyalaya Teentaal was just as engaging. Mandar then sang a bandish in drut Ektaal.
After the rendition of raag Bibhas, Mandar interacted with the audience. He explained the importance of music not only as a recreational activity but also in stimulating the mind. He explained how music is relevant in everyday life. He then taught some basic alankaar-s and everyone sang those alankaar-s after him with utmost enthusiasm and sincerity. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy singing along. Some members in the audience were keen to know how they could inculcate music in daily life and Mandar shared some tips to do so.
He also explained some basics of taal with easy-to-understand examples. This interactive session, with examples from day-to-day life that everyone could relate with, was highly appreciated by the members in the audience. Mandar left the audience entranced as he ended the concert by singing a composition by Sant Jnaneshwar.
When the audience was asked whether they would like to be part of such events in future, every person answered in the affirmative. Their happiness after their first ever experience of listening to Hindustani classical music was visible on their faces. It was once again evident that if presented in a way that can be found interesting and easily understandable by people, Hindustani classical music can be appreciated by people, regardless of their age groups or their backgrounds.