Biography

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This page is an account of Asit's association with his main Gurus and mentors in raga-sangeet and the way they have influenced him at different stages of his development. Faithful and detailed accounts of biographies of the Gurus are easily available elsewhere.

 

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Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay
 

Asit knew Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay since the time Asit was in ninth or tenth grade in school. That's when Asit's other elder sister Rita started taking lessons in Khayal from Pandit Bandyopadhyay. Asit at that time visited Pandit Bandyopadhyay's residence at Goabagan in North Kolkata a few times. Pandit Bandyopadhyay would encourage Asit to meet his own son Bapon (Shantanu) who was just a year younger, and also would ask Asit to sing something in front of his senior students. He took keen interest in Asit's development (both in academics and music) since that time. Pandit Bandyopadhyay himself is a highly literate person with a doctorate degree in literature and have authored several books on aesthetics of music and his own musical journey.

 

Later when Pandit Bandyopadhyay toured USA in the mid-eighties, he called up Asit and asked him to come to Chicago and stay with him over a weekend at the house of his disciple Mrs. Manimanjusha Majumdar. Asit went with his Miraj tanpura, accompanied and gave vocal support in two concerts in different weekends, one in Chicago and another one in a little University town called South Bend. Pandit Bandyopadhyay was very pleased with Asit's vocal support and he later acknowledged that openly on several occasions including his book "Gan-e o Bhraman-e" (In Music and in Travels).

 

Asit was all along very fortunate to receive loving attention from such a senior musician even when Asit was not his disciple. During two of Asit's visits to Kolkata during his stay abroad, Pandit Bandyopadhyay asked Asit to sing in closed gatherings in front of his senior students. Earlier of these events took place at his own residence beside Vivekananda Park in South Kolkata in September 1988. The other one took place at the residence of one of his disciples Mrs. Kamala Das in December 1991. Pandit Bandyopadhyay was always very appreciative of Asit's efforts in music. Asit always received utmost encouragement from him. 

 

When Asit started learning from Pandit Bandyopadhyay in late 1997, it was in a class of about five to eight senior students, and as such it was thus a new experience for him, something that Asit ended up enjoying and he developed deep friendships with most of the fellow students. Asit would have ample opportunity in every class to sing for some time as in a mini-concert. Pandit Bandyopadhyay would only make small comments on the overall presentation, and at times some specifics too. On a small time scale like a month or two, it seemed as if he was not really giving a whole lot of instructions. However, on a longer time scale like a year or so, it was clearly evident that Pandit Bandyopadhyay, with his consistent soft instructions, moulded the student into a discipline or thought process that he subscribed to while keeping the individual gifts of the student intact.

 

This is the hallmark of Pandit Bandyopadhyay's teaching. He never seemed to explicitly impose anything particular on the student. He also did not seem to emphasize technical aspects too much. He stressed more on the overall presentation, and the aesthetics of the presentation, while letting the individual performer grow in his or her own way within the broad guidelines laid out by him. There were, however, a few issues like use of gimmicks and technical showmanship that Pandit Bandyopadhyay clearly disliked and did not hesitate to let all his students know about his displeasure.

 

Asit had the honour of singing Stotras at the grand celebration of the seventy-fifth birthday of Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay at the jam-packed Kalamandir auditorium in presence of all the important musical personalities of Kolkata.