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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.
Ustad Dabir Khan
A few months before Asit was born, Ustad Dabir Khan, the last well-known daughter-side descendent of Miyan Tansen, a Dhrupad singer and Been player of the revered Rampur Senia lineage, started coming regularly to Asit's College-Street-area household to give lessons to Asit's eldest sister Sabita. Even today in Asit's family, the word Guruji means only one person, that is Ustad Dabir Khan. He never took any fees for the talim, and very often used to bring other well-known musicians with him for these regular sessions. Since the time he was a few months old till Guruji died, Asit had a regular presence in these sessions. In fact, exams or illness, nothing could stop Asit from attending these sessions. Asit's mother used to say jokingly that Asit would not move an inch from his position in those sessions even if he was pelted with stones.
Guruji mostly taught Sabita, but seeing the young boy's interest, soon started encouraging Asit. However, the reality was more complex. Since childhood, Asit was brilliant in academics, and his parents were apprehensive that, given full opportunity, Asit would leave academics altogether and become a full-time musician, something they could not accept whole-heartedly. ...Read More
Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty
After the untimely demise of Ustad Dabir Khan, Asit searched for several years and experimented with himself trying to find a tight and well-structured Khayal form and was very dissatisfied with all his attempts. In the mean time he graduated from high school with flying colours and joined college and was destined to become an academician. This is the period he generally avoided singing Khayal in front of anybody because he was unsure of the form of Khayal he wanted to pursue (although he kept up with the riyaz with ragas Todi/Bhairav etc in the mornings and Yaman/Shuddha Kalyan etc in the evenings). He became immediately popular with his semi-classical singing in college, and took part in many music competitions in most vocal streams except the Khayal. He did wonderfully well in all those competitions, most notable among them being the well-known inter-college competition held in the University Institute auditorium where he received several awards in the late seventies from his would-be dadaguru Acharya Jnan Prakash Ghosh.
Around this time, Asit first heard his next Guru Pandit Ajoy Charabarty, his Ajoy-da, as Asit still calls Pandit Chakrabarty. It was a small concert in Birla Academy auditorium off Southern Avenue. ...Read More
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 on his 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 two 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 expressed that openly on several occasions later on. ...Read More
Smt. Sabita Ghosh
Music came into the family from both parents' side. Asit's mother had formal training in music. While his father did not have any formal training, he came from a rich family who according to the traditions of the time were great patrons of music and musicians. Obviously both parents were genuine music lovers and they decided to train their eldest daughter Sabita in vocal music from a very young age.
Sabita had many gurus in her life and she dedicated her whole life to music. She never became a famous vocalist. She certainly had all the ingredients to become one. After all Ustad Dabir Khan himself expressed his willingness to teach Sabita after hearing her in a performance. Perhaps she did not get the support she needed from the family at the proper time while the family went through many hardships. Sabita struggled a great deal for a large part of her life while helping others in the family, especially her parents and the two youngest members of the family, Rita and Asit. Sabita was much older than Asit, and basically was like a mother to him. ...Read More